Interview with Simon Astridge

  • We get to know London local Simon Astridge, his emphasis on the everyday and designing small spaces big on details. 

    London Architect Simon Astridge and his namesake studio first caught our eye in our search for clever extensions. But we are not alone – Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop have quietly built a global reputation on both their conceptual approach and awareness of how to design to people’s everyday needs.

    Simon also knows architecture is not a sole endeavour. He prides himself on the collaboration of a team of architects, designers and crafts-people, whom he credits as the defining strength of the Workshop for their wisdom, knowledge and dedication. It is with this collaborative culture, quality can be championed over trends.

    Lucky for us, Simon took the time to share with us where his passion for architecture began, his London eye for detail, affinity for natural light and hopes for the future. We look forward to seeing what’s next for Simon and his team – and hope an Australian Vineyard is a career aspiration fulfilled very soon.

    Simon Astridge

    When did you first want to become and architect and why?

    Simon Astridge: When I was 12 my father took me to Richard Rogers’ flat in Hammersmith London, overlooking the Thames.  I met with him and was amazed a building could look this way, I remember staring out the glass and asking him what the metal bracing was for.  I knew then, I wanted to do what he did.

    You describe your practice as an ‘Architecture Workshop’. What is the meaning behind this and how is it indicative of the work you do?

    Simon Astridge: It is an assemblage of skilled architects, designers and crafts-people, who contribute through a collaborative process in the delivery of our projects. It is these people, their wisdom, their material knowledge, their working processes and dedication that define the Workshop. When you work with us, you gain access to these practised people and their craftsmanship. We believe in making, imagining, listening, learning, and empowering Workshop members, our collaborators and clients. Art, music, travelling, cuisine, words, wine, clothes, people and exhibitions inspire and inform our projects.

    Brass House by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop
    Brass House by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop
    Brass House by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop

    Currently, what is the design landscape like in London – and more broadly, in the UK?

    Simon Astridge:  It’s tough following Brexit. Clients and projects are all there ready to be delivered but clients are being anxious and waiting to see what happens post 2019.  My view is, go for it now and get ahead of the building boom which will happen following a successful Brexit.

    You are renowned for your home additions and extensions. How would you describe the relationship between new and old in your work?

    Simon Astridge: We have had to carve this niche for ourselves because we get to work a lot with old Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian buildings in central London. Planning regulations dictate the fact we are not able to remove them, so weaving and interconnecting and respecting into the old fabric becomes important.  We can build any projects though!

    What materials interest you most at the moment?  

    Natural light.

    How do you work best with a client and encourage them to work with your ideas?  

    Simon Astridge: Our best advertisement is our architecture, so we take clients to see our old projects.

    How do you avoid trends in design?

    Simon Astridge: By designing architecture for humans and their needs.

    What do you hope to achieve in your career that you haven’t yet?  

    Simon Astridge: Designing a vineyard in Australia.

    Plywood House by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop
    Clay House by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop

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